Barely 48 hours after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) unveiled a six-point palliative to ameliorate the continued impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) on the Nigerian economy and supply chains, the apex bank has announced it is raising the intervention to N1trillion.
The bank, in a statement made available to newsmen in Abuja on Wednesday, quoted the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, as saying its decision to increase its intervention is aimed at boosting local manufacturing and import substitution across all critical sectors of the economy.
The bank added that this is in addition to its N100billion loan offer to support the health authorities to ensure laboratories, researchers and innovators work with global scientists to patent and or produce vaccines and test kits in Nigeria to prepare for any major crises ahead.
Recall that the CBN had previously announced N50billion to support MSMEs, airlines service providers, among other sectors.
Emefiele further disclosed that the management of the CBN will meet with the Bankers’ Committee on Saturday, March 21, 2020, to work out the modalities.
Mr. Emefiele also said that an Implementation Committee that will oversee the private sector contribution of N1.5trillion infrastructure funding that will link farming communities to markets as agreed at the recently concluded “Going for Growth” Roundtable last week will be set-up next week.
Given the plunge in the price of crude oil, which dropped to $25 per barrel on Wednesday with its attendant low accretion to oil revenue, the CBN Governor directed all Deposit Money Banks to increase their support to the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries to enhance local drug manufacturing, increased bed count in hospitals across Nigeria, in funding intensive care as well as in training, laboratory testing, equipment and Research & Development.
In addition to the N50 billion soft loans to small businesses announced on Monday, March 16, 2020, Emefiele said the CBN would also increase its intervention by another N100 billion in loan in 2020, to support the health authorities to ensure laboratories, researchers and innovators work with global scientists to patent and or produce vaccines and test kits in Nigeria to prepare for any major crises ahead.
According to him, the Bank will release details of how the unveiled facilities would be accessed and released, adding that the CBN had also set-up the Financial Markets Situation Room to monitor global markets and advise the Bank on adequate response.
Meanwhile, Mr. Emefiele has advised all Deposit Money Banks and other regulated entities in the banking industry to trigger their business continuity plans to ensure that their staff and families are protected, and their operations remain largely undisrupted.